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Beach Yoga

UPDATED: 7:41 a.m. PDT July 16, 2003

VENICE BEACH, Calif. -- At 9:15 a.m. on a Tuesday, it's time for yoga at Venice Beach.

Do you practice yoga?
Yes, daily.
Yes, often.
Yes, sometimes.
No, but I'm interested in learning more.
No, never.

This was NBC4's Chris Schauble's first experience with yoga so everything was new to him.

Instructor Melissa Cordero had the class start with meditation.

One of the first things Schauble noticed was how at peace he felt.

"The senses take over. Hearing the crash of the surf, the smell of the ocean -- all of it serving to enhance each pose, which, of course, is the point of beach yoga," Schauble said.

"It's very different because you actually begin to connect with nature and it brings your meditation a little bit deeper. You don't have any distractions from the material world. Everything is from Mother Earth -- the sound of the ocean, the birds. It's completely well-rounded," Cordero said.

But this beach yoga class is no walk in the park, according to Schauble.

The class is entry level but hits muscles that go mostly unused, or at least unstretched.

From meditation, the class moved on to standing poses.

While never easy, people who practice beach yoga said the setting beats a studio.

"In the studios I find myself working hard ... but out here I find myself going into that mellow mode," Santa Monica resident James Robinson said.

"Being outside and practicing on the beach is just an uncontrolled environment and I think it's more true to life," Santa Monica resident Renee Patten said.

Beach yoga classes last for about one hour and 15 minutes. They are run by Optimum Fitness, which is based in Venice Beach. Each session costs no more than $15.

Copyright 2003 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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